Farro is having something of a moment lately, becoming a favorite grain of chefs and home cooks alike for its nutty flavor, addictively chewy texture, and high fiber content. Here, we’re nodding to its place in Italian cuisine (it has a history there that goes back to Roman times), preparing it risotto-style. To fill it out, we’re adding in bright lemon, crunchy walnuts, and green veggies prepared two ways.
Vegetable Stock Concentrate
Adjust rack to middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine farro, stock concentrates, and 3½ cups water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil and cook until farro is tender, 25-30 minutes total. TIP: If water evaporates before farro is done, add a splash more.
Wash and dry all produce. Trim and discard woody bottom ends of asparagus. Cut off fuzzy tips and set aside. Chop stalks into ½-inch pieces. Slice zucchini into thin rounds. Mince or grate garlic. Halve, peel, and finely dice onion. Zest, then halve lemon; cut one half into wedges.
Toss asparagus tips, zucchini, and a large drizzle of olive oil on a baking sheet. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until nicely browned, 15-20 minutes, tossing halfway through.
Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, tossing frequently, until soft and translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, tossing, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir asparagus stalk pieces into pot with farro about 5 minutes before farro is done (grains should be just shy of al dente). Drain once both are tender, then add to pan with onion and garlic. Stir in half the lemon zest, juice from lemon half, half the Parmesan, and 1 TBSP butter. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide farro mixture between bowls. Top with zucchini and asparagus tips. Sprinkle with walnuts and remaining Parmesan and lemon zest. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.